Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone and Policy Director Adam Looney preview The Project’s forthcoming budget report, which includes fifteen pragmatic, evidenced-based proposals to reduce the deficit and achieve broad-based economic benefits.
Papers: Tax Policy
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As policymakers work to find solutions to reduce the federal budget deficit, The Hamilton Project presents 15 pragmatic, evidenced-based proposals that would both reduce the deficit and also bring broader economic benefits from leading experts from a variety of backgrounds.
To provide an economic context for tax reform, The Hamilton Project has a new paper focusing on the role of our tax system in the long-run budget deficit, global competitiveness, and rising income inequality.
The U.S. corporate tax system introduced more than 100 years ago has not kept pace with changes to the economy. The growing role of financial innovation and the increasingly global nature of U.S. corporate operations are chief among these changes, necessitating reform. This paper proposes two reforms to the U.S. corporate tax system.
The dynamic forces of technological change, financial innovation, and globalization present new challenges for progressive taxation. This strategy paper offers several broad principles that reflect the new challenges facing our tax system in the 21st Century.
This paper describes a carbon tax swap that is revenue and distributionally neutral. The tax swap levies a tax on greenhouse gas emissions with revenue being used to fund a reduction in the income tax, tied to earned income.
Karen Dynan examines the design of government incentives for personal savings, outlining how reforms to these programs would improve saving and economic security for low-income households and reduce expensive and ineffective federal subsidies for high-income households.
Creating a value-added tax (VAT) in the United States could raise revenue in a manner that does not distort saving and investment choices. William Gale and Ben Harris consider how a VAT could be designedto help address the nation’s fiscal challenges.
Limiting subsidies for fossil fuels could raise revenue for the federal government while also benefiting the environment. Joseph Aldy proposes eliminating twelve subsidies to help level the playing field among fossil fuel producers relative to other businesses, and lead to potentially lower global fuel prices by providing the United States with increased leverage in negotiations over eliminating fossil fuel subsides in the developing world.
This paper proposes increasing the return to work for low-income families through the expansion the earned income tax credit for low-income childless taxpayers and the creation of a targeted wage subsidy in certain economically depressed areas.
As tax time approaches, one focus of debate has been the progressivity of the U.S. tax code. Evidence shows that the current U.S. tax system is less progressive than the tax systems of other industrialized countries, and considerably less progressive today than it was just a few decades ago.
Diane Lim’s approach to individual income tax expenditures would raise revenue more efficiently and progressively by reducing tax expenditures, limiting potential negative impacts on subsidized sectors by preserving certain tax incentives, and equalizing implicit subsidies across middle- and higher-income taxpayers.
This paper argues that the current system of taxing multinational firms generates tax distortions. It proposes a new system that would protect the U.S. tax base while alleviating problems created by the current system.
In this paper, Edward D. Kleinbard introduces the Business Enterprise Income Tax (BEIT), a proposal for reforming business income taxation. He argues that the BEIT would achieve comprehensive and consistent taxation of capital income.
Tax reform discussions often center on tax expenditures. Alan Viard proposes to replace the mortgage interest deduction with a refundable credit as a way to reduce the artificial incentive for the construction of high-end homes by better targeting the tax breaks for housing.
Akash Deep and Robert Z. Lawrence propose an affordable federal instrument that could mitigate the adverse impact of tax-revenue shocks on communities by allowing them to buy tax-base insurance.
Lily Batchelder proposes replacing the estate tax with an inheritance tax. She argues that this tax would lower taxes on heirs receiving smaller inheritances and those with moderate incomes.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama outlined an ambitious second-term agenda focusing on policies to help strengthen America’s middle class through broad-based economic growth. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to address many of the priorities set forth in this year’s address, which we offer as a resource to policymakers in response to specific ideas mentioned by the President this week.
Last night, President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address, putting forth his policy agenda to the 112th Congress on issues. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has developed targeted policy proposals that touch on many of these areas, which we offer as a resource to policymakers in response to specific ideas mentioned by the President last evening.
Adele Morris proposes a carbon tax as a new source of revenue that could also help address climate change. She suggests that a carbon tax would reduce the buildup of greenhouse gasses, replace command-and-control regulations and expensive subsidies with transparent and powerful market-based incentives, and promote economic activity through reduced regulatory burden and lower marginal tax rates.
In this paper, Austan Goolsbee proposes a program known as the "Simple Return," which would make it much easier for the millions of taxpayers with a relatively simple tax status to file their taxes.
A popular tax myth is that a large segment of Americans do not pay taxes and instead free ride off of our society. The Hamilton Project explores this myth and finds that virtually all Americans will pay some form of tax during their lifetime.
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